Andrew J. Pocklington 1 , 5 , ∗ , Elliott Rees 1 , James T.R. Walters 1 , Jun Han 1 , David H. Kavanagh 1 , 4 , Kimberly D. Chambert 2 , Peter Holmans 1 , Jennifer L. Moran 2 , Steven A. McCarroll 2 , 3 , George Kirov 1 , Michael C. O’Donovan 1 , 5 , ∗∗ , Michael J. Owen 1 , 5
03 June 2015
We sought to obtain novel insights into schizophrenia pathogenesis by exploiting the association between the disorder and chromosomal copy number (CNV) burden. We combined data from 5,745 cases and 10,675 controls with other published datasets containing genome-wide CNV data. In this much-enlarged sample of 11,355 cases and 16,416 controls, we show for the first time that case CNVs are enriched for genes involved in GABAergic neurotransmission. Consistent with non-genetic reports of GABAergic deficits in schizophrenia, our findings now show disrupted GABAergic signaling is of direct causal relevance, rather than a secondary effect or due to confounding. Additionally, we independently replicate and greatly extend previous findings of CNV enrichment among genes involved in glutamatergic signaling. Given the strong functional links between the major inhibitory GABAergic and excitatory glutamatergic systems, our findings converge on a broad, coherent set of pathogenic processes, providing firm foundations for studies aimed at dissecting disease mechanisms.
Pocklington et al. show for the first time that CNVs from individuals with schizophrenia are enriched for genes involved in GABAergic neurotransmission. Previous findings of CNV enrichment among genes involved in glutamatergic signaling are independently replicated and greatly extended.